It is depressingly ironic that, while many other countries are steadily switching from fossil fuels to clean and renewable sources of energy, Canada’s federal and provincial governments squabble over building yet another pipeline to British Columbia—one that, with the existing Trans-Mountain pipeline, would nearly triple the delivery capacity from 300,000 barrels of oil a day to 890,000. And the planned new Kinder Morgan pipeline would carry the thickest and dirtiest oil of all: bitumen. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blithely claims that this massive increase in the extraction of oil from the tar sands is not incompatible with saving the environment from global warming. He proudly points to his government’s carbon pricing policy as evidence of a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He projects emissions will fall by 90 megatonnes by 2022, conveniently not mentioning that this reduction, even if achieved, will still be inadequate. It will fall far below…
I have a confession—I am moderately addicted to reading negative stories about President Trump. I think it’s because I loathe him as a human being and because negative stories about him support my internal narrative. In this, I think, I am far from alone. Before I go on, I would like to say that I know several intelligent and kind people who are Trump supporters. To blindly assign negative labels to all his supporters is unfair. I’ve found, for the people I know anyway, that their support is more a reflection of their frustration with the economy and perceived corruption in Washington than any crazy alt-right ideology. But I digress. While following stories on Trump, I began to notice curious similarities in his environmental policies and our own government’s here in Newfoundland and Labrador. To be honest, this didn’t surprise me at all. Our government’s policies rightly belong in the…
Feedback from readers of my earlier essay “Who benefits from government policies?” was mostly positive, but a few thought I had taken a view of the future so dire that it implied capitulation—that further “resistance is futile.” Let me clarify my thinking, at least to the extent of assuring readers that I have not lost hope. Although I see unchecked capitalism as inimical to life on Earth—as the deadliest enemy of all that is fair, progressive and wholesome—I believe it can be vanquished and replaced. Eventually. And before its demolition of the environment passes the point of no return. I am reserving my rationale for optimism until the very end of this perhaps overly protracted blog. I think it will be helpful first to consider how and why capitalism has become the world’s predominant economic system. This does not necessitate a tedious academic treatise, but can best be done by…
“When it can be said in any country in the world, “My poor are happy; neither ignorance nor stress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want; the taxes are not oppressive . . . When these things can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution and its government.” –Thomas Paine. Lucius Cassius, a consul whom the people of ancient Rome revered as a wise and honourable judge, was often required to adjudicate disputes involving the laws or policies of the Senate. Time and again, his first question was “Cui bono?” which can be translated as “Who benefits?” or “To whose benefit?” His reasoning was that no political action could be explained unless it was first ascertained who gained from it. The even more illustrious Roman orator and statesman Cicero often quoted this…
It might seem like a bizarre moment to be fighting to bring ecology to the fore in decision-making in Newfoundland and Labrador. But our decisions about how to proceed in the future depend largely on how we understand our past. Do we trust our politicians? Do we trust Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall and the appointed “expert panel” evaluating the North Spur? Have we been listening and attentive to how the Muskrat Falls project will forever change the lives of the Innu and Inuit in Labrador? One not need look far into the past to see that ecological issues have in fact been included in the scope of considerations about the economic future of the province. For example, in 2010, the province’s Premier, Minister of Natural Resources, and Nalcor CEO Ed Martin all promised they would produce “clean energy” and “environmentally friendly” power. Yet in times of strife, the province’s political leaders,…
“We do not need this plastic in our environment,” says environment minister after Liberal Party joins a growing call to ban single-use plastic bags in N.L.
After too many years of arbitrary budget cuts, it’s time to put some serious thought into our wildlife agency.
Environment Minister’s mandate letter is a hopeful sign.
“The time for excuses is gone. The time for action is now.”
It was only a few years ago we discovered St. John’s City Council had ‘forgotten’ it’s own mandate to have an Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) — a handy vehicle that was brought back to ensure important environmental issues were properly considered and addressed.
The next chapter of our story begins with the coordinated and well-executed effort to replace Stephen Harper with Justin Trudeau. But if we want to shape the narrative, we can’t let go of the pen.
“As they come looking for your vote, I beg you to please engage, ask questions, demand answers and stick around for the accountability!”
In the face of economic and ecological crises, and with a revival of Mi’kmaq identity and culture on the Island’s west coast, one man thinks the time is right for Western Newfoundland to usher in a new era of political representation in Ottawa.
Environment and Conservation Minister Dan Crummell is downplaying oil pollution in Port au Port Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
A farewell challenge: What this province needs to do to make things right.
Placing blame — and litter — where it should be placed.
“I am not the model citizen and do not profess to be. But I do know we cannot continue down this path of destruction…”
The NL capital joins Blue Dot movement and becomes first municipality east of Quebec to recognize its residents’ right to clean air, water and soil.
But as with all good opportunities, we must act to take advantage of them.
As the Blue Dot movement sweeps across Canada, a group of Mount Pearl youth are preparing to ask their city to be the first in NL to declare its residents have the right to a healthy environment. According to a St. John’s city councillor, the capital city is not far behind.